I was warmly greeted by facility manager Rich Martens and shown around the very well maintained, extensive facilities, before the real fun began.
Before the electrical shut-down in Oxford I last spend more than 20 hours every week using the Zeiss NVision to make TEM and atom-probe samples, but now I had not touched a FIB in weeks. I have become accustomed to using the Kleindieck manipultor in Oxford and I have succesfully lifted out a great number of samples with it, but ever since I had seen a demonstration of the Omniprobe micromanipulators at MICROSCIENCE2010 I wanted to play with one. This was going to be the day I had been waiting for so long. With Rich's kind assistance I got to operate a FEI Quanta200 with an Omniprobe manipulator. In just a few hours, we lifted-out and mounted 5 atom-probe needles. The FIB controls reminded me of the controls of our old FEI FIB200 and I felt very comfortable quickly. The Omniprobe manipulator was just as much fun to use as I had imagined. The movement along Cartesian coordinates (almost anyway) is so much more intuitive. I still want one.
I got to leave with data, many a new insight on FIB/LEAP operation and the memories of a beautiful country and the friendliest people.